Over the years, Randal G. Winter, a licensed general contractor and owner of Randal G. Winter Construction Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif., has seen and heard stories about homeowners who hire contractors because they were referred by a friend, but who had failed to check out the contractor’s credentials. As a result, these homeowners had hired contractors without the proper license, liability and workers comp insurance or skills to complete the job safely and correctly. This motivated him to write a book to help homeowners looking to remodel their homes.
“How to Select the Right Home or Building Contractor” provides insight into selecting the right contractor for a person’s remodeling or building needs. His book aims to help homeowners navigate the array of contractors in the marketplace and select the right one based on qualifications, not just price. It also aims to circumvent any potential obstacles for homeowners, while ensuring sure the homeowner’s plans and specifications are clear so they can obtain apples to apples estimates for the job.
“I hope that everyone who is thinking about remodeling their home or building reads this book and avoids getting tangled up with a bad contractor or just an inexperienced contractor,” Winter says.
The book was also designed to level the playing field for contractors, he added. “It’s really difficult for the homeowner to separate the cost from value,” he says. “They don’t understand what the value is in a contractor who knows what he’s doing to their job, so they go by price.”
Winter was inspired to write the book after he attended a seminar hosted by one of his clients, Craig Duswalt, who is the creator of the “RockStar System for Success–How to Achieve RockStar Status in Your Industry,” a biannual event in Los Angeles geared toward teaching entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, coaches and info-marketers how to promote themselves by thinking outside of the box.
“One of the things that [Duswalt] professes is that everyone is an expert at something, and everyone as an expert should write a book,” Winter says. “He had a class on writing a book so I took it and that gave me an idea.”
Winter is no stranger to the building/remodeling industry and has been recognized for his services—mostly recently as a member of the Remodeler BIG50 class of 2013, from Remodeling magazine. He started in the remodeling industry in 1979, working not only as a contractor but as an instructor over the years as well. Winter has eight different contractor’s licenses and is asbestos certified. He also is a certified building inspector and a certified plans inspector. In addition, he has taught courses for contractors and building inspectors so they can pass their certification exams through schools such as the Anthony Schools and License Information Services in California and through a school he had established called Associated Training Specialists.
After attending Duswalt’s seminar, Winter created an outline for the book, separating topics by chapter. After outlining the book, he proceeded to write each chapter. Upon completion, and after having his wife complete a first edit, Winter hired a professional editor, who he had met through the Santa Clarita Business Group, to edit the book for $600. The editor noted he should include items such as a forward, testimonials and a tag line.
Winter published his book through Duswalt’s independent publishing company, RockStar Publishing House. Winter paid a $300 fee to register himself as an author and to register the book. The publishing house helped him obtain the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) so his book could be placed in the Library of Congress. RockStar Publishing also printed the book for Winter, who purchased a few hundred books to hand out to prospective clients, and placed the paperback book for sale through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com for $17.
Winter is promoting the book through the online professional network LinkedIn by placing updates through his LinkedIn connections. He also markets the book through his Website, constructionsantaclarita.com, and is developing a Website specifically for the book. In addition, he recommends that potential clients obtain a copy of the book and doesn’t hesitate to show it to them. He also believes that any legitimate contractor should want to promote his book because it could sway homeowners toward making the right choice.
“If [a legitimate contractor] had a homeowner that wasn’t certain, then they should suggest they buy this book and read it,” Winter says. “Because then the homeowner will select [the contractor] if they truly have the qualifications.”—Amalia Deligiannis